The University of Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team dropped to 0-2 in SEC play Sunday afternoon, falling 3-0 (33-31, 30-18, 30-17) to the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark.
Arkansas (11-3, 2-0) took the early advantage in the first game, pushing its lead to as much as seven, 22-15. The Lady Vols (10-4) responded by making a late run and eventually tied the game for the first time at 26-26 when senior outside hitter Janelle Hester blasted one of her five kills during the frame. The two teams split the next four to knot the first game, 28-28, and a service ace by junior defensive specialist Alex Compeau gave UT game point.
However, the Lady Razorbacks responded and finished off the game with consecutive kills from senior middle blockers Michelle Coens and Anna Velikanova for the 33-31 win.
The second game was a struggle for Tennessee. The Lady 'Backs out-hit the Lady Vols .552 to .032 in game two for a 30-18 victory.
Game three was almost identical to its predecessor, with the Lady Vols falling behind from the outset. After the Lady 'Backs held a 7-5 advantage, Tennessee never climbed within more than three. Arkansas won the match at 30-17 in the third game.
Lady Vol sophomore right side hitter Whitney Gifford proved that her injuries have healed with nine kills and 10 digs on the afternoon. Senior outside hitter Janelle Hester led the Lady Vols in kills for the 11th time this year with 10. Freshman setter Julie Knytych turned in another impressive performance for Tennessee with five kills, 31 assists, eight digs and three blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Michelle Piantadosi also turned in a solid performance with nine kills and four blocks.
As a team, the Lady Vols hit at a season-low .094 clip, while allowing Arkansas to attack at .359, the highest mark they have given up this year. Arkansas also recorded 12 blocks on the afternoon to Tennessee's four.
The Lady Vols fell to LSU 3-0 (30-19, 31-29, 30-21) in the SEC opener Friday night in Baton Rouge, La.
Tennessee returns home for its next two contests, with the first taking place on Oct. 4 when the No. 3-ranked Florida Gators come to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. match in Stokely Athletics Center. UT faces Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m.